Gear Inspirations

These epic images show how close you can go with an iPhone

Winning shots from the iPhone Macro Challenge will astound you…

For years photographers have been told that if you want to get up close to a subject, the only solution is a macro lens for your DSLR or mirrorless camera. Well, times have changed and now it’s possible to get frame-filling shots of small subjects using your iPhone. In fact, Apple recently ran a competition to celebrate the best macro images taken iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max smartphones.

With finalists from China, Hungary, India, Italy, Spain, Thailand, and the US, the quality of the macro imagery is superb and goes to show just what you can achieve using an iPhone and, of course, your creative ability. The first finalist was Guido Cassanelli from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who commented on his image ‘Sea Glass’; ‘Sea glass is eroded by thousands of miles travelling around the oceans to the shores of the world. I was walking on the beach enjoying a beautiful sunset, and decided to collect some of these small pieces of sea glass to give macro photography on iPhone 13 Pro Max a try. It looks like something strange is happening inside the one placed in the centre — it looks like amber. I really love that texture.’

Image by Guido Cassanelli / Apple

‘The Cave’ was captured by Italian photographer Marco Colletta who commented; ‘The enveloping shape of the petals, accentuated by intense shadows, made me think of a deep cave, ready to be explored; by keeping the point of view inside the flower, I wanted the hibiscus’s natural framing to make us feel fully part of its beauty. When I first learned about macro mode, I thought it was one more cool new feature I was excited to get with my new iPhone 13 Pro. But when I started exploring its possibilities, I really started loving it. I discovered it gives me the possibility to turn nearly everything I see into an abstract subject, different from what it is in reality. This feature really did unlock my imagination.’

Image by Marco Colletta / Apple

This fantastic frame from India-based Prajwal Chougule was shot using an iPhone 13 Pro and is titled; ‘Art In Nature’. The well-composed frame shows dewdrops caught on a spider web to form a necklace.

Image by Prajwal Chougule / Apple

Daniel Olah, from Budapest Hungary, commented on his image, which is entitled ‘A Drop Of Freedom’; ‘My intention was to highlight the tiny drop of water in comparison with the lily. I’ve used a spot studio light on the lily with a dark background. I adore the shape of the flower; the lower petal helps keep the focus on the middle part, highlighting not just the drop, but the stamen, too. Nonetheless, the picture has a rhythm that is building toward the euphoria of the composition.”  

Image by Daniel Olah / Apple

Texture can play a key part in macro photography, as expertly illustrated by Trevor Collins’ image, ‘Leaf Illumination’. Trevor, who is from Boston, USA, used an iPhone 13 Pro to capture the glory of the leaf and to fill the frame with both structure and colour.

Image by Trevor Collins / Apple

One of the most dynamic images in the competition was ‘Strawberry In Soda’, which was captured by San Francisco-based Ashley Lee using an iPhone 13 Pro. One of the competition judges commented; ‘The photographer found a creative use of macro to celebrate the intricate texture of the humble strawberry. I love the energy of the air bubbles, captured at peak fizziness.’

Image by Ashley Lee / Apple

‘Volcanic Lava’ was shot on an iPhone 13 by New Jersey-based Abhik Mondal who said; ‘After buying the new iPhone 13 Pro in December, I was amazed with its macro feature and started capturing different objects, including flowers, insects, plants, and more. One day, during a regular evening walk, I went to a grocery store, where I noticed a bouquet of flowers. This beautiful sunflower caught my attention with its intricate details, including the presence of contrasting colours from the centre toward the edge of the petals. I immediately decided to take the bouquet home and capture the beauty of it.’

Image by Abhik Mondal / Apple

Tom Reeves, from New York, USA, captured this beautiful image – entitled; ‘Honeycomb’ using an iPhone 13 Pro and commented; ‘This image was taken along the edge of Riverside Park in Manhattan while on a morning walk with our puppy this winter. As she marvelled at her first snow, I was able to capture the ephemeral latticework of this tiny snowflake as it landed among the threads of her many honey-coloured curls.’

Image by Tom Reeves / Apple